California | National Center for Transgender Equality

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California

Welcome to our one-stop hub for name and gender change information. Find out how to update your name and gender on state and federal IDs and records. 

Not sure where to start? Here's a quick overview.

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Last updated November 2019

Name Change, Driver's License & Birth Certificate Policies in:

Federal IDs and Records:

California Name Change Laws

To file a name change in California, you may:

See the court website to explore all options for changing your name, gender, or both.


Where to file:

At your local court.


Do I need to publish my name change in a newspaper?

No; if you are changing your name to conform to your gender identity, you will not have to publish anything.


Cost:

The filing fee for a petition for a decree of change of name or gender is $435.

If you cannot afford the fee, you can ask for a fee waiver.


Name Changes for Minors Under 18:

For instructions on legal name changes for minors under 18 in California, see NCTE’s Name Changes for Minors in California resource.


Name Changes for Incarcerated People:

Starting in September 2018, people who are incarcerated in California can apply for legal name changes without prior approval by correction officials (See SB310).  The courts will deny registered sex offender petitions unless they determine it will not adversely affect public safety. (Statute: Cal. Civ. Proc. Code §§1275-1279.6). 

California Drivers License Policy & Procedures

California driver's licenses and ID cards can display a gender of M, F, or X, as indicated by the applicant. No medical documentation is required. Please note that in order to change the name on a California license or ID you must first update your legal name with the Social Security Administration.

 

In order to change the name and/or gender on a California license or ID:

  1. Complete the Driver License or Identification Card Application online
  2. Make an appointment at the DMV
  3. To update your legal name, submit documentation of legal name change (typically court order)
  4. To update your gender marker, submit a completed Gender Category Request form (indicating designation of M, F, or X)
  5. Pay the application fee
  6. Get a fingerprint scan
  7. Have your photo taken

The DMV has information about name changes and gender marker changes on their website. 

 

California Birth Certificate Laws

As of January 2018, the California Department of Public Health will issue a new birth certificate reflecting a gender of female, male, non-binary or (-) upon receipt of the appropriate documentation. No provider attestation is required.

To apply for a new birth certificate, the applicant must submit the following:

When Amending the Name and Gender Marker, or Gender Marker Only

  1. VS 24 Affidavit to Amend a Record
    • You should fill out Part I and Part II of VS 24 (Items 1A – 12E)
    • Please note that you do not need a second person’s signature on VS 24, even though the instructions say it is required.
    • On the back of the form, check the middle fee option, “Enclosed is the fee of $23 for filing the affidavit and one certified copy of the newly amended record.” If you want additional copies of the birth certificate, also check that you are enclosing a fee of $25 for each additional copy.
  2. If updating your name, a certified copy of your legal name change order from the court.  
  3. One of the following to request a change of sex:
    • A certified copy of a court order that changes your legal sex; OR
    • An Affidavit attesting, under penalty of perjury, that the request for a change of sex is to match the sex specified on your birth certificate to your sex identity and not for any fraudulent purpose, and if your application does not include a court order for name or gender change you must also submit a notarized Sworn Statement (page 3 of 3) that you are authorized to receive a certified copy of this birth certificate (What does notarized mean?).
  4. A photocopy of the current birth certificate, if you have it (not required).
  5. Fee for one certified copy of the updated certificate - $23 payable to CDPH, Vital Records (this fee covers the cost of processing as well as one certified copy). Additional copies are $25 each.

When Amending the Name Only

  1. VS 23 Amendment of Birth Record to Reflect Court Order Change of Name
  2. A certified copy of the court order
  3. A notarized Sworn Statement (page 3 of 3) that you are authorized to receive a certified copy of this birth certificate (What does notarized mean?)
  4. Fee for one certified copy of the updated certificate - $23 payable to CDPH, Vital Records (this fee covers the cost of processing as well as one certified copy). Additional copies are $25 each.
  5. A photocopy of the current birth certificate, if you have it (not required).

Mail application materials to:

California Department of Public Health - Vital Records
MS 5103
P.O. Box 997410
Sacramento, CA 95899-7410

Please note: If you receive a new birth certificate after amending your gender or your gender and your name together, the agency creates a new birth certificate and seals the old record. However, if you receive a new birth certificate after amending only your name, your previous birth certificate is not sealed. Also note that CDPH will not return your affidavits and other documents, and it is advisable to keep copies for your own records.

Further instructions on the birth certificate amendment process are available from CDPH here (for updating gender) and here (after legal name change).

 

Court Orders for Gender Change Instructions: Starting September 1, 2018, to obtain a judgment reflecting a change of gender from a California court a person may file a petition in any county seeking recognition of female, male, non-binary or (-) gender, along with an affidavit attesting to their own gender. No provider attestation is required. See SB 179

For the current instructions on judgments for change of gender, see the gender change instructions on the California Courts website. For information on getting a fee waiver off the court filing fee, see the Court Fee Waiver instructions. Note that judgments for change of gender are not required to update a California birth certificate.

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